The Board is considering making the 508 Standards effective six months after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register, with one exception: federal procurement of ICT products or services. A six-month delay in the effective date of the Access Board’s final rule will provide federal agencies with an opportunity to more fully understand the updated 508 Standards. This action is consistent with the legislative intent underlying section 508 which provides a six-month period between publication of the Board’s standard and the incorporation of such standard in the Federal Acquisition Regulations. By making the revised 508 Standards effective six months after publication in the Federal Register, they would go into effect at the same time as the FAR Council revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

With respect to federal ICT contracts, the Board proposes deferring to the FAR Council for establishment of the date on which the revised 508 Standards apply to new ICT-related contracts awarded after publication of the Council’s final rule, as well as existing ICT contracts with award dates that precede that final rule.

Question 35. The Board seeks comment on its proposed approach to making its revised 508 Standards effective six months after publication in the Federal Register, with the exception of federal ICT-related procurements.

The Board also seeks comment on deferring to the FAR Council to establish the effective date for application of the revised 508 Standards to “new” ICT contracts (i.e., contracts awarded after publication the FAR Council’s final rule), as well as existing ICT contracts.

With respect to Section 255, application of the Board’s final revised 255 Guidelines to new telecommunications products and customer premises equipment designed, developed, and fabricated after their publication is a matter for the FCC to determine since the FCC has exclusive responsibility for enforcement of Section 255 and issuance of implementing regulations. Nonetheless, in keeping with the Board’s past practice in promulgating the existing 255 Guidelines, see 63 FR 5608 (Feb. 3, 1998), the Board proposes making the final revised 255 Guidelines effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Manufacturers of Section 255-covered telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment need not comply with the Board’s revised 255 Guidelines until incorporated into revised FCC regulations.